Finding Freedom from Addiction

Last week, Colorado and Washington State took a bold step and legalized marijuana for recreational use. How should we react? Should we celebrate the private liberty of individuals to do what they want with their own bodies? Or should we mourn the fact that drug abuse and possession by minors will likely increase?

Let’s take a step back from marijuana for a moment. The fact is, we already have plenty of addictive substances that are fully “legal” in our culture. Alcohol can be addictive. Nicotine can be addictive. Prescription drugs can be addictive. Even comfort foods can be addictive. And let’s not forget other activities like gambling, pornography, shopping, and video games.

 If there is anything you find yourself constantly craving — that you can’t live without or that you would do anything to get — you are struggling with an addiction. It can be a miserable way to live.

Thankfully, the Bible offers great hope for addicts. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

This verse offers three basic steps for addicts: 

  1. Remember you are not alone. Your temptation is “common to mankind.” It is shared by thousands of others. Whatever your struggle, know that you are not the first to face this temptation, and you will not be the last. Other people have beaten this habit, and so can you. 
  2. Trust in God. He is faithful and can give you the power to say “no.” Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord receive strength from above. “Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22). 
  3. Look for an escape route. Addicts can feel like they’re being held hostage against their will. But God says there is always a “way out.” The Bible, the Holy Spirit, godly friends, and a loving church are just some of the keys God provides to unlock those handcuffs and escape the bondage of sin. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

The legalization of marijuana may continue to be fiercely debated. But this much is clear: addiction is something we all struggle with. And only God can give us the power to say no and follow Him.

This article first appeared in today’s edition of our local newspaper, the Hi Desert Star

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